Detour Gold Corp. [TSX: DGC], in a move that may raise some eyebrows, has named Patrice Merrin as the company’s new chair of the board, effective immediately.
Merrin is a corporate director with a wealth of experience in the resource sector. She is perhaps best known for a previous role as chief operating officer of Sherritt International Inc. [S-TSX] where she worked alongside Ian Delaney when the company embarked on a controversial nickel mining joint venture with the late Fidel Castro’s Cuban government. That was in the years between 1999 and 2004.
She is currently an independent non-executive director of metals trading giant Glencore plc, Kew Media Group Inc., a producer and distributor of multi-genre content worldwide, and Samuel, Son & Co., a producer and distributor of metals and industrial products.
Aside from Sherritt, her executive roles in the resource sector have also included a spell as President, CEO and director of Luscar Ltd., Canada’s largest thermal coal producer (2005-2006).
“We are very excited to have Patrice as Chair given her breadth of experience as well as her solid reputation in the capital markets, said Detour Gold President and CEO Mick McMullen. “She brings a wealth of expertise to the board and is recognized as a strong proponent of corporate governance,” McMullen said.
Merrin replaces Dawn Whittaker who was acting as interim Chair. “She stepped in at short notice and filled the role admirably during the company’s transitional period and we continue to look forward to working with her on the board,’’ McMullen said.
Detour Gold is an intermediate gold producer in Canada. It operates the large-scale Detour Lake mine in northern Ontario about 300 kilometres northeast of the Timmins. The mine produced 621,128 ounces in 2018, down from the previous estimate of between 600,000 to 650,000 ounces.
Detour is expected to produce between 570,000 and 605,000 ounces of gold this year at an all-in sustaining cost of US$1,175 and US$1,250 an ounce.
The Detour Lake operation has a mine life of approximately 22 years with an average gold production of 659,000 ounces annually, and includes the development of the West Detour project, which is currently being permitted.
The company’s management recently waged a battle with dissident shareholder (5%) Paulson & Co. Inc., which launched a bid last year to replace the company’s board with independent members committed to exploring the potential sale of the company.
The move resulted in significant changes at the board and management level following the resignation of former Detour CEO Paul Martin.
In an investment report, Scotiabank said the changes were necessary due to the lack of technical experience on the board, especially following the change in mine plan outlook in April that seemed to indicate the board was caught unawares by the escalating cost forecasts.
On Monday, Detour Gold shares rose 0.64% or $0.09 to $14.20. The shares are trading in a 52-week range of $9.38 and $14.59.